Lookups spiked 1,500% on January 25, 2019
Following the arrest of President Trump's political adviser Roger Stone, the word collusion was used by Stone's lawyer, President Trump, and many journalists and commentators on the case on January 25, 2019.
Stone was arrested as part of the ongoing Department of Justice investigation led by Robert Mueller. One of the questions being looked into is coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, and charges of conspiracy (often referred to as "collusion") are in the news.
Collusion means “secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.”
Like most legal terms, collusion has Latin roots. It comes from the Latin verb colludere, formed from com- (“with,” “together”) and ludere (“to play”): the literal meaning of collusion is “playing together.” Its use in English goes back to the 14th century.
The verb collude, based on the same Latin root as collusion, means "to work together secretly especially in order to do something illegal or dishonest," a synonym of conspire or plot. It was first used in English in the 1500s, a time when scholars and lawyers would have been very familiar with the original Latin term.
By coincidence, collude is also Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day from our Page-A-Day calendar.
Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.